What? Coverage of Comic Books?! MADNESS!

This Week In Comics!

The Goon #8: Ah, nothing like an ongoing series where I actually look forward to each upcoming issue without the blinders of formal ‘arcs’ to guide my vision. I’m still enjoying “The Punisher” for example, but I’m thinking “Well, two more left in this arc, let’s see if Garth can keep it moving.” None of that here. Each issue of “The Goon” is a self-contained story, although the accumulated tales fit together into a wider chronology. I’ve enjoyed the last seven issues enough to count on enjoying this one. There’s expectations, naturally: I know the title character will beat the piss out of something, I know there’ll be laffs, and I know Eric Powell’s art will bear a lush and refined cartoon sensibility. And even with such constants, these elements of formula, I never really know what to expect from this book on an issue-by-issue basis. That’s good. This issue will have vampires. That’s also good. According to this preview, it will be funny, with jokes about poop and punching four year-old children. This title won an Eisner. That makes me happy. Buy this comic. You will be happy too.

Astro City Special: For those of you filling in the relevant blocks on your scorecards, this was supposed to be the fifth and final story in the recent “Local Heroes” miniseries, but then Kurt Busiek decided to stretch the fourth story into a two-parter. I agree that the story would’ve felt compressed as one issue, but it didn’t quite fill two either; it felt padded with unnecessary running and dreams and stuff. It also had the sort of mystery that’s so easy to figure out that you start to doubt that it’s even intended to be a mystery but there doesn’t seem to be much other reason for it so you just feel ambivalent about it. This story is also longer than average, at forty pages. I’m keeping myself optimistic. I recall the first two issues of “Local Heroes” being pretty good, especially the second one which felt like a slightly darker take on an Alan Moore “Supreme” story; it had the same sort of vibe in its exploration of the Superman archetype, but it focused more on the inherent cruelty behind certain Silver Age tropes. The third issue, unfortunately, was pretty bad. Just a thudding bore about a ’hip’ city girl who, like, learns to respect the country folk and stuff, and also decides that revealing a superhero’s secret identity to an obviously evil corporation for reward money is not a good idea. Whoops! Hope I didn’t ruin the nail-biting suspense! She also experiences her epiphany while watching said (adult) hero hooking up with her seventeen year-old cousin in the barn, which is usually the lead-in to a nice healthy porno scene, but I guess DC’s saving it for a Director’s Cut further down the line, since that’s the sort of thing they’re always forcing poor Marvel into trying. Wait… now I’m off-topic.

Deicide Vol. 1: Ah, this is a Humanoids trade release by Carlos Portela and Das Pastoras. I liked their stuff in “Metal Hurlant”. Pastoras’ art has a strong Corben influence, though a bit smoother. The story involves a bunch of crazy giant animal gods and the man who defies them. Looks like fun. Can’t afford it right now.

I Am Legion Vol. 1 - The Dancing Fawn: Another Humanoids book, but this time it’s a $7 prestige format release at 64-pages. “Planetary” and “Astonishing X-Men” artist John Cassaday handles the visuals here, and also adapted the story to comics: it was based on a screenplay by Fabien Nury. It’s sure to look good, and the story involves supernatural action in WWII… I might get it.

Terra Obscura Vol. 2 #1 (of 6): The first “Terra Obscura” series (spun off from a storyline in Alan Moore’s “Tom Strong”, co-written by Peter Hogan, and now out in trade form) doesn’t seem to be too popular around these here Internet parts. I rather enjoyed it up until the aimless talkathon ending. The book was basically a massive company-wide crossover extravaganza, for a line of comics that don’t actually exist and a bunch of heroes we’re unfamiliar with. But all the 'big crossover' elements are present, like hero-on-hero clashes and enigmatic appearances by fringe heroes who serve that one key purpose and the Big Danger that unites the whole cast and minor roles by assorted arch-villains and little nods to individual continuities. Really. Compare “Terra Obscura” to whatever crossover event you want, and I think you’ll find a lot of similarities. Except with “Terra Obscura”, there are no individual continuities to follow: we build the continuities ourselves as based on the evidence we’re given. It was kinda fun, if a little dizzying. Until the ending. I have no idea what this new series will bring, but I’m checking it out.

Ex Machina #3: Like I said before, there’s some nagging problems with this book so far. Mild contrivances that distract me. I’m still on, since the premise is interesting and there‘s lots of hope for the future.

Demo #9 (of 12): The Internet likes this one. I’ll try it someday.

Robocop Killing Machine Special: This is a one-shot/preview from Avatar. The story is all Steven Grant this time, and the art is by Anderson Ricardo rather than Juan Jose Ryp. Still in color though. Oh, and the story’s only ten pages, according to Grant‘s column at Comic Book Resources (look at the bottom). The rest of the book will be a “sneak-peak [sic] at the next upcoming Robocop epic!” But… but the current Robocop epic is only two-thirds done! We’ll have to see.

The Comics Journal #262: I’m in for the new format. Looks real good.

Boy, that’s a lot of stuff.